Free will astrology for the week of July 4 

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ARIES (March 21-April 19):
When the universe began 13.8 billion years ago, there were only four elements: mostly hydrogen and helium, plus tiny amounts of lithium and beryllium. Now there are 118 elements, including five that are key components of your body: oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. All of those were created by nuclear reactions blazing on the insides of stars that later died. So it's literally true to say that much of your flesh and blood and bones and nerves originated at the hearts of stars. I invite you to meditate on that amazing fact. It's a favourable time to muse on your origins and your ancestry; to ruminate about all the events that led to you being here today—including more recent decades, as well as the past 13.8 billion years.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
Most American women couldn't vote until a hundred years ago. Women in Japan, France, and Italy couldn't vote until the 1940s. Universal suffrage has been a fundamental change in how society is structured. Similarly, same-sex marriage was opposed by vast majorities in most countries until 15 years ago, but has since become widely accepted. African-American slavery lasted for hundreds of years before being delegitimized all over the Western world in the 19th century. Brazil, which hosted 40 per cent of all kidnapped Africans, didn't free its slaves until 1888. What would be the equivalent of such revolutionary transformations in your own personal life? According to my reading of the astrological omens, you have the power to make that happen during the next 12 months.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
Gemini musician Paul Weller is famous in the U.K., though not so much elsewhere. According to the BBC, he is one of Britain's "most revered music writers and performers." To which I say: revered, maybe, but mentally healthy? Not so much. He bragged that he broke up his marriage with his wife Dee C. Lee because "things were going too well, we were too happy, too comfortable, everything seemed too nice." He was afraid that "as a writer and an artist I might lose my edge." Don't you dare allow yourself to get infected with that perverse way of thinking, my dear Gemini. Please capitalize on your current comfort and happiness. Use them to build your strength and resilience for the months and years to come.

CANCER (June 21-July 22):
Cancerian voice actor Tom Kenny has played the roles of more than 1,500 cartoon characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Spyro the Dragon, Jake Spidermonkey, Commander Peepers, and Doctor Octopus. I propose that we make him your role model in the coming weeks. It will be a favourable time for you to show your versatility; to demonstrate how multifaceted you can be; to express various sides of your soulful personality.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
Leo author Donald Miller reminds us that fear can have two very different purposes. On the one hand, it may be "a guide to keep us safe," alerting us to situations that could be dangerous or abusive. On the other hand, fear may work as "a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life." After studying your astrological indicators for the coming weeks, Leo, I have come to the conclusion that fear may serve both of those functions for you. Your challenge will be to discern between them; to know which situations are genuinely risky and which situations are daunting but promising. Here's a hint that might help: trust your gut feelings more than your swirling fantasies.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
Why do flocks of geese fly in a V-formation? Because to do so enhances the collective efficiency of their travel. Each bird generates a current that supports the bird behind it. Let's make this phenomenon one of your power metaphors for the coming weeks. What would be the equivalent strategy for you and your tribe or group as you seek to make your collaborative efforts more dynamic and productive? Unforeseen help will augment any actions you take in this regard.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
"A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue," mused Libra author Truman Capote. "That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet." That cynical formulation has more than a few grains of truth in it, I must admit. But I'm pleased to tell you that I suspect your experience in the coming weeks will be an exception to Capote's rule. I think you have the potential to embark on a virtual binge of rich discussion and intriguing interplay with people who stimulate and educate and entertain you. Rise to the challenge!

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
In accordance with astrological rhythms, you are authorized to make the following declarations in the next two weeks: 1. "I refuse to participate further in this situation on the grounds that it might impinge on the expansiveness of my imagination." 2. "I abstain from dealing with your skepticism on the grounds that doing so might discourage the flights of my imagination." 3. "I reject these ideas, theories, and beliefs on the grounds that they might pinch, squash, or deflate my imagination." What I'm trying to tell you, Scorpio, is that it's crucial for you to emancipate your imagination and authorize it to play uninhibitedly in the frontiers of possibilities.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
Dear Sagittarius: I invite you to make a copy of the testimonial below and give it to anyone who is in a position to support your Noble Experiment. "To Whom It May Concern: I endorse this Soulful Sagittarius for the roles of monster-tamer, fun-locator, boredom-transcender, elation-inciter, and mountaintop visionary. This adroit explorer is endowed with charming zeal, disarming candor, and abundant generosity. If you need help in sparking your enthusiasm or galvanizing your drive to see the big picture, call on the expansive skills of this jaunty puzzle-solver."

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):
Life will conspire to bring you a surge of love in the coming weeks—if you can handle it. Can you? Will you be able to deal adeptly with rumbling love and icy hot love and mostly sweet but also a bit sour love? Do you possess the resourcefulness and curiosity necessary to have fun with funny spiritual love and running-through-the-labyrinth love and unexpectedly catalytic love? Are you open-minded and open-hearted enough to make the most of brilliant shadowy love and unruly sensitive love and toughly graceful love?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):
I don't endlessly champion the "no pain, no gain" theory of personal growth. My philosophy holds that we are at least as likely to learn valuable lessons from pleasurable and joyful experiences as we are from difficult and taxing struggles. Having said that, I also think it's true that our suffering may lead us to treasure if we know how to work with it. According to my assessment, the coming weeks will bring one such opening for you. To help you cultivate the proper spirit, keep in mind the teaching of Aquarian theologian and author Henri Nouwen. He said that life's gifts may be "hidden in the places that hurt most."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):
The Japanese word "wabi-sabi" refers to an interesting or evocative imperfection in a work of art that makes it more beautiful than if it were merely perfect. "Duende" is a Spanish word referring to a work of art that gives its viewers the chills because it's so emotionally rich and unpredictably soulful. In the coming weeks, I think that you yourself will be a work of art with an abundance of these qualities. Your wabi-sabi will give you the power to free yourself from the oppressive pressures of seeking too much precision and purity. Your duende can give you the courage you need to go further than you've ever dared in your quest for the love you really want.

Homework: "Know thyself—or else! Follow your dreams—or else!" Please comment. Truthrooster@gmail.com.

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